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CD Review: MATT CARLSON - Hymns From My Heart

Hymns From My Heart
Great Is Thy Faithfulness - Blessed Assurance - Just As I Am - When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder - Nearer My God To Thee - It Is Well - I'll Fly Away - His Eye Is On The Sparrow - Nothing But The Blood - America The Beautiful
How does it happen?  I just reviewed an album by Josh Turner, super good one with his really good traditional country song, "Hawaiian Girl" on it, steel guitar and all.  And the next one up to review is Matt Carlson, who is an incredibly gifted ukulele player.  Hey there aren't any Hawaiian songs on this album by Matt, it is devoted to his (and our) Lord Jesus Christ.  It never ceases to amaze me how important music must be to Jesus.  It's how some of our very best testimony is revealed.  Matt does it so very well with each and every song on this completely well done music presentation with his ukulele instrumental CD.  It is so nice to know that a young guy (Matt is 17) can keep our ears tuned to not just the lyrics of great Christian songs, but also to the melody lines that sets the words off so nicely.  Not being familiar with each and every song on this album, I was tempted to seek the words that completes the beautiful image of the song itself.  Yet, I am familiar with most of the songs Matt does here, and the words come vibrantly back to me as I hear him play his small stringed instrument so perfectly well.  The lead lines are so vibrant and so easy to follow.  Matt Carlson is a genius on this musical instrument, and his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ shines through bright and clear as he easily picks the songs he himself finds so beautiful.  Brad Johnson is on the studio sound board and he too has kept Matt's beautiful renditions of some great Gospel songs right where they need to be.   Brad mixed and mastered this delightful adventure. Matt does a lot of music and recording with his dad, Allen, but this is his first 'solo' album, and I for one find it a most intriguing and delightful listening experience.  He makes his home in southern Minnesota, and maybe that upper-Midwest charm shines through in his music.  If you can find Matt on Face-Book, you can also find a hymn a week on his ukulele.  I'll be tuning in you can be sure, and I am also forwarding this CD to the Rural Roots Music Commission, who I will bet my last dollar on, that they've never ever heard a ukulele played so well, especially on Christian songs they are all familiar with.  "Style" is also Matt's.  It is singularly his and his alone.  Keep it up Matt Carlson.  God not only has His eye on the sparrow, He also has His eye on good musicians who tithe their talent to God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.  I also liked Matt's very distinct and vitally important to us these days, America The Beautiful.
RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, President of the National Traditional Country Music Assn.  www.music-savers.com for Country Music News International

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